Saturday, October 30, 2010

Airport foes rally at court

Commissioners Court: Airport foes rally at court
By Mike Blackwell
Smithville Times
October 29, 2010

Fourteen men and women – all opposed to the proposed 381 Agreement between Bastrop County and the Central Texas Airport – spoke during the citizens comments portion of the Bastrop County Commissioners Court meeting Monday.

The citizens expressed concerns ranging from a lack of communication about the project from the airport’s developers, Carpenter & Associates, to the safety of those whose homes or schools fall within the flight zone of the airport. Several in the group also suggested the site violates certain Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

“We have information that places the proposed site entirely within a FAA Wildlife Hazard Zone that requires a minimum separation of 10,000 feet to five miles for the safe operation of jet aircraft near the Colorado River which is frequented by large birds, namely geese, ducks, eagles, and others,” Tom Thompson read from a prepared statement. “We also have information that on-site drainage construction required by FEMA will produce even more habitat for large avian species and that constructing these facilities within the Airport Operating Area is in direct violation of FAA ‘Advisory Circular, #150/5200-33D, Hazardous Wildlife Attractants In or Near Airports.’”

Tom Thompson added that his organization was “for the second time” requesting a public meeting pertaining to the proposal.

Candace Boheme said safety was a concern for her and specifically mentioned last week’s meeting pertaining to the airport proposal hosted in Austin by Carpenter & Associates.

“Carpenter & Associates claimed at their dog and pony show last week that they will follow all FAA rules and regulations,” Boheme said. “If that’s true, why did their attorneys make sure the 381 exempts the proposed Central Texas Airport from the 14CFR, Part 139 rules which relate to safe operation of aircraft?”

Ruth Thompson also mentioned the Carter [sic] & Associates meeting in her remarks.

“I was not invited to last week’s meeting for the elite,” Ruth Thompson said in her prepared remarks. “I am just an ordinary citizen, but I did witness you, Judge (Ronnie) McDonald, and you, Commissioner (Lee) Dildy, ’selling out’ the ordinary citizens of Bastrop County – the very people whose interests you were elected to protect. There you were, all lined up with the Toshiba investors to offer your enthusiastic support for the project. Disappointment does not even begin to express how I feel.”

Ruth Thompson said she went to the meeting in order to pass out information from her side of the argument.

“I was there to hand out to the attendees of the meeting information citing some real truths about this project, not the slick sales pitch of an unscrupulous and, to date, rather unsuccessful developer in this area,” Ruth Thompson said. “And then, what do you know, I was pursued by a security guard for my efforts. All I can say is ’shame on you, Judge McDonald, Commissioner Dildy, and the entire court.’ By signing the 381 Agreement with Carpenter & Associates, without public input, you displayed a total lack of respect, sensitivity and support for the health, safety and welfare of your citizens.”

In other court action . . .


Also posted as “Airport opposition voiced” in the Bastrop Advertiser


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